Post-Op Treatment Instructions
Expectations after Non-Surgical Endodontics (Root Canal Treatment):
While the endodontic treatment itself is relatively or completely pain free, there can be normal post-treatment discomfort when the numbness wears off. The amount of discomfort is usually directly related to the condition of the tooth prior to treatment. The post-treatment discomfort may vary from no soreness to slight soreness or even considerable pain and swelling for up to 5-7 days. In any case, there will be soreness to touch and/or biting.
The normal expectations are that post-operative symptoms will range from no or mild pain to strong pain starting in 4 to 8 hours after treatment. It is also not unusual to be comfortable when the numbness wears off, then have discomfort develop on the second day, increasing in intensity for 48 hours before beginning to level, then subside. It is not the tooth that is hurting (the nerve/pulp is gone), but it is the live tissue that surrounds the root of your tooth. There is the original inflammation or infection compounded by the mechanics of the endodontic procedure.
Sometimes during the initial 72 hour period, slight to moderate swelling may develop. Usually as the swelling increases, the associated pain will begin to decrease. This swelling is part of the healing process and you should not worry. If you are not taking an antibiotic, it may be recommended at this time – check with our office. A follow-up visit may be needed to evaluate your condition.
Most swelling/major post-operative pain problems will have resolved in 7 to 10 days (14 days if the tooth was retreated). If significant problems persist beyond 7 days, please call our office.
Take any prescribed medications as directed.
- Antibiotics: Follow the prescription instructions until all have been taken.
- Pain Medication (if prescribed): Start taking prior to the numbness wearing off (within one hour).
If you have not been prescribed a pain medication and you feel you are in need and are medically able to take Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin, it is our recommended (over-the-counter) pain medication.
*Take 3 to 4 tablets (600 to 800 mg) Ibuprofen every 6-hours as needed for discomfort.
Do not eat anything until the numbness wears off – this will prevent you from biting your cheek or tongue. Do not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist. The remaining tooth structure(s) is weak, has a temporary filling and is susceptible to fracture prior to final restoration by your referring dentist. See Final Restoration, below.
When appropriate, the occlusion (bite) of the tooth is reduced (adjusted) to minimize post-operative symptoms. A good crown or bridge (not to be replaced) is usually not reduced in order to save the existing restoration(s). If your bite seems high – it seems like you are hitting only the tooth we worked on – you may have to have us adjust your tooth.
You need to return to your referring dentist for the final restoration of the treated tooth/teeth. Please schedule within 2 to 4 weeks after root canal therapy completion for the final restoration of the treated tooth/teeth. A permanent restoration (inlay or crown) will give the tooth/teeth more protection and strength as well as prevent leakage.
The next business day following your treatment, a staff member will call you to check on your progress. Questions, concerns and post-op problems can be addressed at this time.
Should any conditions arise which cause you concern, please call our office for advice and further instructions. If after office hours, call our office and speak to the answering service. While the treatment chart/record may not be available after hours, there is always an Associated Dental Specialists’ doctor “on call” to address emergencies.
*Our patients are our #1 priority. Please visit our website at ads-endo.com for any comments/suggestions.
What to Expect Following Endodontic Surgery (Apicoectomy):
- Take any prescribed medications as directed.
Antibiotics: Follow the prescription instructions until all have been taken.
Pain Medication (if prescribed): Start taking prior to the numbness wearing off (within one hour).
If you have not been prescribed a pain medication and you feel you are in need and are medically able to take Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin, it is our recommended (over-the-counter) pain medication.*Take 3 to 4 tablets (600 to 800 mg) Ibuprofen every 6 hours as needed for discomfort.
- Some discomfort will usually be present while severe pain seldom occurs. Should aspirin fail to restore comfort, please fill the prescription given to you and take as directed.
- Slight bleeding during the first day is to be expected.
- Some swelling and discoloration is unfortunately normal. Expect the swelling to increase for 2 to 3 days and then subside. Swelling will usually appear increased each morning. This is a normal part of the healing process.
- There is often temporary loss of feeling in the involved area.
- The tooth may feel loose for a time.
- THE PROPER CARE FOLLOWING SURGICAL PROCEDURES WILL HASTEN RECOVERY AND PREVENT COMPLICATIONS.
SHOULD ANY CONDITIONS ARISE WHICH CAUSES YOU CONCERN, PLEASE CALL THE OFFICE FOR ADVICE AND FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS.
Home Care Following Endodontic Surgery (Apicoectomy):
- Do not lift or pull on lip – this may cause tearing out of sutures and interruption of healing.
- Use provided cold application over operated area for 20 minutes out of every half hour for the remainder of today. Strict adherence to this schedule will hold swelling and discoloration to a minimum.
- Try to rest as much as possible for the remainder of the day. Swelling can be further minimized by elevating head with two pillows while sleeping or resting.
- Starting 24 hours after surgery – gently rinse the mouth with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon to glass of warm water) after each meal and before bed. Continue daily until sutures are removed and healing is complete.
- Brush carefully around the area, keeping the mouth as clean as possible.
- Good nutrition is important in promoting rapid healing. Use foods that will be nourishing but will not require vigorous chewing (eggs, soups, milk, etc.). Do all heavy chewing on the other side of the mouth.
- Do not use tobacco or alcohol for the first 24 hours.
- Take any prescribed medications as directed.